Man Trouble (1930)

87 mins | Melodrama | August 1930

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HISTORY

The 11 Dec 1929 Var announced that Fox Film Corp. had purchased screen rights to Ben Ames Williams’s short story, “A Very Practical Joke,” originally printed in The Saturday Evening Post on 5 Dec 1925, and later published as a novel.
       On 4 Jan 1930, Motion Picture News indicated that the picture would also be titled A Very Practical Joke, and reported that George Manker Watters would write the adaptation and dialogue. The 28 Jan 1930 FD stated that Berthold Viertel would direct the picture. Although the 26 Feb 1930 Var announced that Edwin Burke had been hired to direct and write the dialogue, this appears to be a mistake. Burke did receive credit as a dialogue writer, along with Watters, but there is no other information to support that he had ever been linked to the project as a director.
       The 1 Feb 1930 Motion Picture News added Mae Clarke and William Harrigan to the cast. According to the 9 Feb 1930 FD, Dorothy Mackaill was replacing Mae Clarke as the female lead to Milton Sills.
       The 4 Feb 1930 FD reported that production would begin that month. The 26 Feb and the 5 Mar 1930 FD confirmed that principal photography was underway at Fox Studios in Hollywood, CA. Joseph Reilly, head of Fox’s safety department and previously a New York City detective for twenty five years, was listed as the technical director on the picture.
       The 2 Mar 1930 FD stated that Effie Ellsler would portray “Aunt Maggie,” but on 29 Mar 1930, Motion ... More Less

The 11 Dec 1929 Var announced that Fox Film Corp. had purchased screen rights to Ben Ames Williams’s short story, “A Very Practical Joke,” originally printed in The Saturday Evening Post on 5 Dec 1925, and later published as a novel.
       On 4 Jan 1930, Motion Picture News indicated that the picture would also be titled A Very Practical Joke, and reported that George Manker Watters would write the adaptation and dialogue. The 28 Jan 1930 FD stated that Berthold Viertel would direct the picture. Although the 26 Feb 1930 Var announced that Edwin Burke had been hired to direct and write the dialogue, this appears to be a mistake. Burke did receive credit as a dialogue writer, along with Watters, but there is no other information to support that he had ever been linked to the project as a director.
       The 1 Feb 1930 Motion Picture News added Mae Clarke and William Harrigan to the cast. According to the 9 Feb 1930 FD, Dorothy Mackaill was replacing Mae Clarke as the female lead to Milton Sills.
       The 4 Feb 1930 FD reported that production would begin that month. The 26 Feb and the 5 Mar 1930 FD confirmed that principal photography was underway at Fox Studios in Hollywood, CA. Joseph Reilly, head of Fox’s safety department and previously a New York City detective for twenty five years, was listed as the technical director on the picture.
       The 2 Mar 1930 FD stated that Effie Ellsler would portray “Aunt Maggie,” but on 29 Mar 1930, Motion Picture News announced that Edythe Chapman had joined the cast, thus replacing Ellsler as “Aunt Maggie.”
       The title was changed to Living for Love, as indicated in the 8 May 1930 FD, which reported that the picture was currently being edited.
       The 10 May 1930 Hollywood Filmograph noted that the picture would be a Fox Movietone sound production. The 31 May 1930 edition stated that editing had been completed and the picture was ready for release.
       An advertisement in the 5 Jul 1930 Motion Picture News referred to the picture by its new title, Man Trouble, and announced a 24 Aug 1930 release date. However, the picture opened in several cities beginning on 6 Aug 1930, including Detroit, MI; Pittsburg, PA; and Des Moines, IA, according to the 6 and 13 Aug Var and the 23 Aug 1930 Motion Picture News.
       The New York City opening of Man Trouble was held at the Fox Theatre in Brooklyn on 5 Sep 1930, as stated in the 10 Sep 1930 Var review. The review complained about several “hokey” sequences, and noted the difficulty in adapting Williams’s stories to the screen. However, Dorothy Mackaill’s bluesy singing voice on the song “You Got Nobody To Love” received praise.
       Ben Ames Williams's short story was also the basis of the 1939 Twentieth Century-Fox film Inside Story, directed by Ricardo Cortez and starring Michael Whelan and Jean Rogers (see entry). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
28 Jan 1930
p. 1.
Film Daily
4 Feb 1930
p. 2.
Film Daily
9 Feb 1930
p. 11.
Film Daily
26 Feb 1930
p. 12.
Film Daily
2 Mar 1930
p. 3.
Film Daily
5 Mar 1930
p. 7.
Film Daily
8 May 1930
p. 6.
Film Daily
17 Aug 1930.
---
Hollywood Filmograph
26 Apr 1930
p. 20.
Hollywood Filmograph
10 May 1930
p. 34.
Hollywood Filmograph
31 May 1930
p. 20.
Motion Picture News
4 Jan 1930
p. 22.
Motion Picture News
1 Feb 1930
p. 28.
Motion Picture News
29 Mar 1930
p. 47.
Motion Picture News
5 Jul 1930.
---
Motion Picture News
23 Aug 1930
p. 34.
Variety
11 Dec 1929
p. 36.
Variety
26 Feb 1930
p. 32.
Variety
6 Aug 1930
p. 49.
Variety
13 Aug 1930
p. 69.
Variety
10 Sep 1930
p. 29.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "A Very Practical Joke" by Ben Ames Williams in The Saturday Evening Post (5 Dec 1925).
SONGS
"Now I Ask You," "You Got Nobody To Love," "Pick Yourself Up--Brush Yourself Off," "You Do, Don't You?" and "What's The Use Of Living Without Love?" words by Joseph McCarthy, music by James Hanley and Joseph McCarthy.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
A Very Practical Joke
Living for Love
Release Date:
August 1930
Premiere Information:
New York opening at the Fox Theatre in Brooklyn: 5 September 1930
Production Date:
late February/early March--late April/early May 1930
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
7 June 1930
Copyright Number:
LP1373
Physical Properties:
Sound
Movietone
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87
Length(in feet):
7,800
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Mac, a New York gunman and bootlegger, saves the life of a down-and-out singer named Joan. Taking a liking to her, he gives her a job in his cabaret. Meanwhile, attracted by the folksy Christmas column of newspaperman George Graham, Joan is persuaded to join him in visiting his Aunt Maggie and Uncle Joe, who mistake them for a married couple. However, Mac learns of the incident and takes her away from the country retreat. Later, George expresses his faith in Joan and confronts Mac at the cabaret, demanding that he be allowed to see her. Learning of a plot by a rival bootleg faction to kill him, Mac goes to shoot it out with the gang and dies, giving the young couple his ... +


Mac, a New York gunman and bootlegger, saves the life of a down-and-out singer named Joan. Taking a liking to her, he gives her a job in his cabaret. Meanwhile, attracted by the folksy Christmas column of newspaperman George Graham, Joan is persuaded to join him in visiting his Aunt Maggie and Uncle Joe, who mistake them for a married couple. However, Mac learns of the incident and takes her away from the country retreat. Later, George expresses his faith in Joan and confronts Mac at the cabaret, demanding that he be allowed to see her. Learning of a plot by a rival bootleg faction to kill him, Mac goes to shoot it out with the gang and dies, giving the young couple his blessing. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
with songs


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.